Category Archives: Romance

My Own Romance #71 [1959] – Cover


Class barriers and conflicts were one of the big themes of romance comics. Kirby did that well, with a lot of good visual shorthand no doubt based on his own experiences, with some great work on the background characters. Also of course the usual sexy and stylish main characters.


Inks by Chris Rule.

Published 1959

Young Love #50 [v5n8] [1953]


Two S&K stories in this issue, both fairly short so lacking a bit in the complexity of their early romance classics, but with some good points.

“Wedding Present” is a 6-page story about Hank, a young man who falls for Kay and then plans to ask her to marry him just as he gets his draft notice. Unfortunately for him, Kay has been getting serious about another man and Hank reacts poorly to the news.

Young Love #50 [v5n8] [1953]

The action then shifts to Korea, where Hank still has trouble accepting his rejection, even to the point of ignoring obvious advances from a pretty nurse. His rival, Charlie, shows up wounded, and a lecture and blood transfusion later and Hank is ready to move on with his life and finally notices the nurse’s attentions.

This could have been a really good story with a few more pages, and still has some nice scenes, but comes across as more of a summary of a story with just six pages.

“Norma, The Queen of the Hot Dogs” is a 4-page story with a pretty odd title and premise. Norma, a fashion model, is unsure of what to do with her life, wanting to live the high-life but unwilling to marry her rich boss. She ends up going into business with a local hot dog vendor after he remarks that business picks up whenever she hangs around his stand. The new concept for the stand is successful, and they franchise it to more stands with other pretty girls. Yes, S&K predicted Hooters… Of course she still wants more and marries their accountant. Bit of a let-down ending, where it turns out all she really wanted was a strong man and beautiful babies.

As the “anniversary” issue, this also has a page with a short note from the editors and a small reproduction of the classic first issue of YL from 1949.

Published 1953

Love Romances #83 [1959] – Cover


Kirby’s first cover to LOVE ROMANCES, I especially love the inking (apparently by Chris Rule according to the GCD) on the hair. The tennis playing girl in the background is also pretty cute.


Published 1959

True Bride-To-Be Romances #19 [1956] – Cover


More mid-1950s romance published by Harvey. I love the older couple in the background on this one, and the blurb “No place is home when a girl marries a rolling stone. Read Trailer Bride!”

With Kirby capable of covers like these, I wonder why so many of the Prize romance books had photo covers.


Published 1956

First Love Illustrated #68 [1956] – Cover


A very cute mid-1950s cover for Harvey, I especially like the expression on the ride attendants face (plus his pipe). Note also the old man in the back seat. I think he’s one of the most frequent regulars in Kirby crowd scenes. I wonder if he’s based on anyone in particular?


Published 1956

Love Romances #84 [1959] – Cover


Quite a dog, that Tony. Continuing on from his successful work at Prize over the previous decade, Kirby did a lot of covers and stories for the Marvel romance books, including this early one inked by Vince Colletta.


This is also part of an informal set of artist themed Kirby romance covers, going back to Prize’s YOUNG ROMANCE #1 and Mainline’s IN LOVE #3. Any others?

[later edit, see this post at the S&K Blog for more on the artist/model theme]
Published 1959

True Bride-To-Be Romances #20 [1956] – Cover


Another of the mid-1950s Harvey published romance books that Kirby just did the cover for, this one featuring the familiar choice a woman has to make between her farmboy and cityslicker beaus. Happens more often then you’d think.

And that’s a really nice looking hand. Very nice inking overall on this cover, especially the clothing.


Published 1956

Young Romance #87 [v10n3] [1957]


Ten years after launching, the first S&K romance comic was still going strong in 1957, with #87 (v10#3) featuring three stories drawn by Kirby. While not quite as good as the earlier romance stories that have been reprinted, they’re still fun and really well drawn. The biggest problem is that they’re too short, at only 5 to 7 pages each, to really develop the characters and multiple plot complications that the longer earlier stories did. The less complicated stories also make for few opportunities for the Kirby action sequences that frequently highlighted the early stories.

To place this issue in Kirby’s career, this is from around the time he began working at DC again, with the first few Challenger issues of SHOWCASE being dated just before this.

“Girl With Possibilities” is the lead story in the issue, and easily the best. It features Sid, a failing young theatrical producer who has been unable to put together a hit since his first few early successes. Then he meets Alice, a girl from his hometown, who he recognizes as a sure hit. He quickly sets up a new show to feature her, but becomes afraid that she’ll be signed by a bigger producer, and tries to sign her to an exclusive contract, which she says they don’t need because she’s in love with him. Sid later proposes to her in an attempt to make sure she stays with him, and we get a very clever twist at the end.

This was a lot of fun, and really well drawn. Only 7 pages, I’d have loved for this to go longer, with some very good story possibilities suggested.

Young Romance #87 [v10n3] [1957]

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Sweetheart” is a quick story, only 5 pages, and really doesn’t have a chance to get started before it ends. It features Judy, an orphaned young lady living with her father’s family. She’s considered a bit wild, and considers her cousin Harold a square, preferring to party with local rocker Happy Jenkins. Then at the end Harold announces he loves her, and there isn’t any real set-up for her turnaround. A shame, as the story looks nice (look at that shading on the last panel of page four), and has some hints of interesting characterization, but as it is comes across as lecturing about making responsible choices. Like, uh, marrying your cousin…

“Make Me Beautiful” is the story of Ruth, and I’m not sure I really get it. Maybe you have to be more familiar with the era. Anyway, she’s a plain girl who never gets any dates, and thinks it’s because she’s not flashy enough. Her mother lectures her about reaching out for false happiness, and she listens but still doesn’t find happiness. Finally she goes out in her fancy dress and meets Kevin, a sailor friend of her friend David, and they hit it off, only she’s sure he only loves her for surface appearances and breaks up with him. Of course he returns in the end. Again, there’s the hint of a really good story, but with only six pages it comes across as preaching about not being too flashy and being yourself. And again, it looks great, as good as any

A non-Kirby story, “Was I Too Possessive?”, and two text pages on romance advice and fashion round out the issue.

Published 1957

Buried Treasure #2 [1986] – “Inky” – proposed comic strip


In the late 1940s, while they were working on the successful line of romance comics, Simon&Kirby put together a six week proposal for a comic strip, Inky, featuring cartoonist Inky Spotts and his struggles to establish himself. The strip didn’t sell, although a few years later they did make use of parts of it for the romance comic IN LOVE #3. In 1986, Greg Theakston published BURIED TREASURE v1#2 and included the 36 strips in nine pages.

The story is incomplete, unfortunately, just the first chapter in a longer story. As it begins, Inky is an assistant to a successful older cartoonist, who dies (killing his character in the process). After that he tries to pitch his own strip, but while he’s technically good the syndicate editor says his work lacks soul. Eventually he gets suckered into working with Donna Dreame, a society columnist who plans to use him to make a fortune (in comics?), but passes off a stolen concept as her own. As the six-week sample closes, Inky has a confrontation with the editor, who knows the strip was stolen and wants to find out who’s responsible.

I’m not sure I can disagree with the syndicates for not buying, since I have trouble seeing the set-up, at least based on what was done, holding up a strip for the years that would be required for a daily strip after the initial storyline was over. How many action-filled adventures could you credibly put a cartoonist into? Still, it would have made a good extended opening story, and the art is spectacular.

inky1 inky2

Also in this issue, a short essay with quotes from Joe Simon about the history of romance comics, plus a colour backcover with the cover of IN LOVE #3 reprinted. Non-Kirby work includes reprints of Alex Toth and Bill Ward comics.

Published 1986

Our Love Story #12 [1971] – He Was Perfect – But I Lost Him


This issue has a reprint of the 1960 Kirby story from MY OWN ROMANCE #74, a quick 5 pager. The story starts off nicely, with a good splash page featuring the female lead and the usual teaser lead-off, and the first page shown here works nicely to quickly get the story started. After that it’s a bit bland, with only three more pages the story is a bit straight-forward and a bit preachy, compared to the more complex, often byzantine plotting of the longer S&K romance stories.


Worth taking a look at, as one of the handful of romance stories that Kirby did at Marvel to be reprinted.

Inks are by Colletta.

Published 1971